‘American Idol’ accused of being racist by nine former contestants

By Daniel S Levine,

Nine contestants hope to sue American Idol producers because they believe the show is racist against blacks. They claim that they were cut from the show as part of a plot to boost the Fox show’s ratings.

TMZ is reporting that New York attorney James H. Freeman filed a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, seeking permission to sue Idol and Fox on behalf of his nine clients.

The contestants named in the suit are: Corey Clark (Season 2), Jaered Andrews (Season 2), Donnie Williams (Season 3), Terrell Brittenum (Season 5), Derrell Brittenum (Season 5), Thomas Daniels (Season 6), Akron Watson (Season 6), Ju'Not Joyner (Season 8) and Chris Golightly (Season 9).

Freeman says that he thought something was up when Jermaine Jones was kicked off the show last March because of outstanding warrants for his arrest. He then decided to do his own research and found that all nine contestants who had been cut publicly cut because of reasons other than their talent were all black as well.

So, he claims that Idol has a “cruel and inhumane” plot towards black contestants to help boost ratings. He suggests that the scheme starts the moment they ask contestants if they have ever been arrested. This, according to him, is a violation of California law, since these contestants are hoping to be employed by the show.

Freeman believes that the only way Idol uses this illegally obtained information is to humiliate black contestants and perpetrating “destructive stereotypes.” “NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production,” he says in the letter.

Even though none of these contestants were convicted of crimes, “...their personal and professional lives remain permanently and severely impaired by [the show's] continuing violations of our nation's laws.”

Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe told TMZ that he was “shocked” by the allegations. “We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex,” he said. “I think we've always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white ... I don't think I've ever seen racism at the show.”

Idol has had three African-American winners (Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks) and Zap2It notes that non-black contestants have been disqualified from the show in the past. Delano Cagnolatti lied about his age and Joanna Pacitti had connections to a production company when they were cut.

Ju'Not Joyner failed to make it to the semi-finals and Chris Golightly was cut because he didn’t tell Fox that he had a recording contract. However, both are named in the letter.

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